Italian Cinema and Immigration Database

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Italian Cinema and

Immigration Database

The Italian Cinema and Immigration Database is an offshoot of the multidisciplinary project Destination Italy: Representing Migration in Contemporary Media and Narrative, developed at Italian Studies at Oxford (IS0). Its aim is to create a straightforward reference tool allowing researchers to draw information about the corpus of Italian films on immigration produced and distributed during the years 1980-2010.
We will be grateful if any research work aided by our Database will be acknowledge with the following wording: Data extracted from ICID - Italian Cinema and Immigration Database (Italian Studies at Oxford).
Online and freely accessible, the ICID Database is a useful bank of information going beyond the simple reference details regarding authorship, production and distribution. Its data on the use of foreign languages and the different uses of subtitling can be useful in Linguistics-related fields of research. At the same time, detailed information about each film’s Box office revenues allows film experts to draw a realistic picture of the actual impact and popularity of individual films. Cultural studies experts are also be able to establish quickly which films dealt with a particular community or were set in a particular part of Italy or foreign country.

The collection of data was the result of a one-year project, sponsored by the John Fell Fund at Oxford University. This implied a number of visits to Italian media archives (mainly in Bologna, Florence, Milan and Rome) with the aim of viewing and collecting information on all fiction films produced between 1980 and 2010. Furthermore, the database has been designed in order to allow modification and expansion of its databank.

Below are the criteria used to set up the corpus:

1. Chronological span (1980-2010): the earliest year, 1980, is obviously a post-quem date suggested by the first film in chronological order appearing in the database: L'altra donna (The Other Woman) by Peter Dal Monte. At the other end of the spectrum, the ante-quem date of 2010 is marked by Into Paradise by Paola Randi and Ho paura del buio by Massimo Coppola. Subject to further funding, the Database can be supplemented with data concerning more recent years. At the same time, we felt that it was particularly important to collect data regarding the earlier period which coincided with the early waves of immigration reaching the Italian borders. As of 2011, Italy is moving at such a pace towards a multi-cultural society that to some extent one can predict the presence of issues related to migratory issues as a constant throughout national film production.

2. Fiction versus Documentary Films: the ICID Database is limited to fiction films only. The exclusion of documentaries is related to the impossibility of an exhaustive analysis of such a huge corpus. At the same time, in order to reflect their popularity and importance, we have included documentaries which were distributed and screened nationally in cinemas. Shorts have also been excluded for the same reason.

3. Definition of “Migration Film”: the basic criteria in the choice of the corpus is related to the status of the protagonists. If at least one of the protagonist is a post-1980 immigrant the film has been included in the Database. At the same time, the entry “Importance”, allows to define whether, for each film, migration-related issues are Marginal or Central.

4. Entries: The following entries are supplied: ‘Director's name and nationality, Scriptwriters’ nationality, Movie title, Year, Cinema Release/B’cast, Importance of migratory issues, Foreign Community, Setting, Foreign Language Used and its Usage in dialogues and subtitles, Production (nationality), Production Company, Distribution Data: Company, Cities, Days, Audience and Revenue. The Database contains also an entry called Notes in which general information regarding each film’s genesis and award winning has been added.

The database allows a selection of data on which each researcher can concentrate. By way of example, one could collect information centred around the foreign languages being used in the film (see fig 1).

A second example concerns the revenues collected by each film. This allows immediately to gauge which were the most popular films on the subject. Data were extracted from the Borsa film, an insert of Giornale della Spettacolo, between 1982 and 2011. (fig. 2):

Finally, by clicking on the option “More” for a single film, its entire data is presented in a single window (fig. 3):

At February 2012, the database counts overall eighty-four films on Italian immigration produced between 1980 and 2010 of which two realized in the 1980s, twenty-one in the decade 1990-1999, and fifty-nine between 2000 and 2010.
The Database is co-ordinated by Guido Bonsaver, in collaboration with Franca Pellegrini and Giancarla Vanoli.

The ICID Database Co-ordinator and his collaborators would like to thank Monica Francioso, for her additional research work; Linda Godden for the technical assistance and Matthew Reza for translating all texts into English.

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